101 Stories: Dr. Daryl Harris

By The Children's Theatre

Celebrate TCT’s 101st season as it comes to a close as we applaud and appreciate those who contributed to the organization’s magic throughout our century-long journey.  During 10 weeks of recognition, we honor individuals who have been instrumental in the success of TCT, and who have not only helped TCT grow in mission, but also thrive, thanks to their passion.  It is these people and their moments in our history that shaped TCT to become what it is today. We encourage you to consider giving a gift in their honor to ensure the sustainability of TCT’s mission for the next 100+ years. 

Dr. Daryl Harris

Dr. Daryl Harris is the director of TCT’s 2020 production of MARTIN’S DREAM. This one-man show, created and performed by the talented and charismatic Deondra Kamau Means, explores the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the real person behind the pictures: a funny intelligent, passionate man whose faith, family, and education made him one of the most revered people in our nation’s history. 

Returning by popular demand during the pandemic, this riveting production is currently available on TCT’s streaming Broadway on Demand library, and also via the interactive Pick-A-Path platform. 

Dr. Daryl Harris is an Associate Professor at Northern Kentucky University (NKU) School of the Arts (SOTA) Theatre and Dance Program. A 50-year veteran of traditional, experimental, and educational theatre, he has studied and worked as a producer, writer, director, actor, costume designer, professor, and lecturer throughout North America, Europe, West Africa, Asia, and Australia. In addition to teaching diverse interdisciplinary theatre courses at NKU, Dr. Harris’s work involves outreach and service-learning projects that incorporate theatre techniques: “life skills through theatre skills.”  

A 2010 President’s Call to Service Award, the highest award that the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation bestows, recognized his Theatre in Diversion program wherein he used theatre principles and practices to work with first-time, non-violent juvenile offenders in the Kentucky System of the Courts.  

In 2015 and 2016 respectively, he directed and costumed productions of Shakespeare’s HAMLET and A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM especially adapted for English as a Second Language students at the Sri Lanka International Buddhist Academy (SIBA).  

In 2017, as a Fulbright Specialist, he continued this project (“The SIBA Initiative”) with the production of a world premiere English translation/adaptation of the traditional Buddhist saga SANDA KINDURU, one of the most highly revered Jataka Tales recounting past lives of the Buddha. He co-wrote, costumed, and played a cameo role in that production. This ongoing project embodies his primary passion: engaging scholars and communities transculturally and transnationally across disciplines. 

Deondra Kamau Means in Martin’s Dream

We recently spoke with Dr. Harris about his connection with TCT: 

Why do you believe children’s theatre is important? 

“Children’s theatre is important because it exposes young minds and hearts to the limitless possibilities of the imagination. Beyond introducing them to the arts at important formative stages of their lives, it also provides them both active and passive experiences that will stay with them forever. TCT, specifically, is important because of the consistently high-quality of these experiences that it provides for local young audiences and participants, as well as those throughout the virtual world.” 

What did  you like most about your work with TCT? 

“The most exciting part about my work with TCT was the opportunity and freedom to collaborate with such wonderfully creative artists, crafts-persons, technicians, and even administrators. I felt that my work, my vision, and my approach were honored, embraced, and supported.” 

What else would you like to share about your time at TCT? 

“It was addictive; I can’t wait to do it again.” 

Would you honor Dr. Daryl Harris with a gift to recognize the impact made on TCT?